Will learning Dancesport help my Salsa dancing?

Hi all,

I am a salsera and I have been dancing salsa for the past 3 years. I am quite good at body movement, improvisation and musicality. However I want to be really really good, especially when doing those sexy stylish moves in salsa performance. And I am thinking of learning Rumba in Dancesport. Because most of the time they try to idealise and maximise every little movement in Dancesport. Rumba is particularly difficult because it is slow and hence require much more intense and precise movement.

I have been stopped by my dancesport friend who was scarred that I might not be relax and spontanous any more when I dance salsa. People like my dance because it is very natural and "real", my friend's arguement has been that I will maximise and idealise with those "over the top" arms and body movements that wouldn't make it spicy and sexy any more, just sporty!

However I don't think I wouldnot be able to differentiate between dancing dancesport rumba and salsa, or have control over my movements and choose what fit best when.

I am mainly thinking about performing time, when I am on stage, I want to be really good, sexy, precise, and intense in my movement.

Please advise!


New Member
Have you thought of taking belly dancing classes instead. I've know women that did this and it improved thier Rumba alot. This will help in body isolation in those sexy moves and how to control your body.
emsalsa said:
However I don't think I would not be able to differentiate between dancing dancesport rumba and salsa, or have control over my movements and choose what fit best when.

I am mainly thinking about performing time, when I am on stage, I want to be really good, sexy, precise, and intense in my movement.
If your primary objective is to look good on stage in a show designed by somebody else, then my guess is that you would concentrate on whatever the choreographer specifically wants you to do, so I don't think that dancesport would make much of a difference.

If you are the one doing the choreography for your own parts of the show (or a competition), then go ahead and learn whatever type of dance has the movements that appeal to you. My opinion is that some movements do look better on stage than on the social dance floor (and vice versa) -- but the key is not to be overly influenced by some instructor who might tell you various movements are "right" or "wrong," since that is ultimately up to you and what you want to project to an audience.


Active Member
Yes, it will help. As long as you are balanced and do some of each, you shouldn't have a problem carrying over things that shouldn't be carried over. There's a misconception that a dance like rumba leaves no room for musical interpretation, "sexy moves," and so forth... Rumba is, in my opinion, a much more sensual and sexual dance than salsa/mambo. Watching a good couple do a good rumba has caused many jaws to drop, I assure you.. :wink: Learning rumba will help you learn principles of dance that are helpful for salsa but which are often not emphasized in the salsa community. You'll be a more well rounded dancer, and you'll have variety in your dancing life (if you already don't). Do it, do it. :wink:
i'm a salsa dancer who became a dancesport dancer.... yes, it improved my salsa, but not only for reasons that are specifically germane to dancesport.

if i had my ideal combination of 'secondary' dance practices (where the primary one is salsa), the first most important one would be classes in afro-cuban dance. if you have access to that kind of class, i urge you to try it.

if you don't, or if that doesn't interest you, learning ballroom rumba will definitely help you get body control (as would ballet) and learn to move dynamically. you'll also learn how to 'dance bigger,' which you seemed to imply was one of your goals. you'll get a foundation in the kinds of techniques which help all partner dancers, but which socially-trained salsa dancers often lack, such as connection, spinning, weight transfer, moving from your core, posture and alignment.

other contemporary practices that work well with serious salsa dancing include hip-hop (body isolation, strength, lots of seriously sexy choreography), belly dancing (core strength, hip motion) and african dance (hello, go back to the source.)
Thanks to all of you for advises and opinions! I will respond to each of you in paragraphs:

To ssjss

Thanks for your suggestion. I was learning (from my middle eastern friends) belly dance before I knew about Salsa, and that influences my salsa alot! I am happy to learn more, but it is like something I have tried and it has defenitely been used very effectively in my salsa.. so I want to try something that I have never ever tried, to bring "new dimension" into my salsa dance.

To Big10

Right now, rather than learning different moves, I am trying to improve "the way" I would execute certain moves, many of which are very stylish and idealised moves which one often seen in dancesport, and I am not quite comfortable doing such moves yet.

Your advise is great, I will use it when such situation comes!

To Josh

I am glad you like it! I mean, I have been quite reluctant to try dancesport or ballroom dance, for various reasons. I feel that once I take up rumba lesson (it will be private lesson, I hope this very very good dancesport couple will have time for me).. I will again discover something beyond what I intended to!


How interesting! I would love to hear more about your experience.. What are salsera's difficulties and advantages when it comes to dancesport?

I was lucky to travel and live in Kenya for a while, where I didnot actually had a chance to take lesson in African dance, but picked up the feels, the moves.., and attitudes from friends (i worked in theatre and african dance is everyday's warm-up, in the slum).. I wouldn't say I have learned afro-cuban dance.., I only got some feel to it. Also now I am in Vietnam, no African in my city, and no access to Afro-cuban dance!

I definitely want to try hiphop as well!

It's nice to hear about how ballroom dancing would help in improving techniques in salsa.. I think I will go ahead and book myself some lessons..


New Member
Your welcome, Rumba is one of three of my favorite dances. AT coming in first and Bolore coming in a close (very close) second. Rumba comes in third(It's easier to dance in a socail dance than an Bolero, but not as nice). So if you go towards Dance Sport, check out Bolero. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.


Well-Known Member
Intern Latin

As a techer and former examiner-- the one thing you can be sure of is this-- it will educate you technically and develop frame-- having taught both for multi yrs- word to the wise-- do NOT let it influence the way you interpret your salsa -- Remember one thing-- people do not know how we feel to dance with -- they only know how we look !!

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